The Way Out: Employee Engagement 2.0 – Webinar

Jay Owen Green Prosperity, Sustainability News

Dear Friends,

There is constant balance in my life between supporting my kids as they grow and being part of the growth of Natural Capitalism. My four year old, Calvin, is now asking questions that are hard to answer and someday soon he’ll quiz me about what I do at work. I know that I will answer that question proudly saying, “I work with a visionary leader and a committed team to help make businesses and communities treat the world better.”  At Natural Capitalism we question everything we do to ensure that we are having the most amount of impact possible. We don’t want to be a profit maximizing behemoth. We, like my family, want to grow the right way. Some of the projects we spend our time on are highlighted below along with upcoming events like our DU Executive Education program and Employee Engagement webinar. I am proud to work with this little non-profit and very grateful for all of your ongoing support.

Toby Russell

5 September 2013 at 11:00 MT

Employees are an organization’s greatest asset, but when it comes to sustainability they are often left out. This is a serious mistake: organizations with engaged employees are up to 18 percent more productive, 16 percent more profitable, and have as much as four times the return per share as organizations whose workers feel disengaged. Learn how to implement innovative approaches and technological solutions to engage frontline employees, helping to:

  • Maximize return on your sustainability program
  • Implement sustainability across geographic boundaries
  • Increase adoption of sustainability


Image: MOA Architecture DaVita HeadquartersApplications are now open for the Sustainability Leadership and Implementation course that we hold each year with University of Denver (DU). Past students rave about the experience, confidence, and skills they gained to implement sustainability within their organizations.

“Managers and executives concerned with the success of their companies and the continued happiness and productivity of their employees need to attend this course.”“…Very insightful and quite enriching.”

Widely recognized as the best sustainability course for working professionals in Colorado by the Colorado Workforce Center and numerous leading businesses, cities, and organizations, SLIC has also now been accredited by the University of Denver for its MBA students.

  • Walk away with the skills needed to implement an effective and profit-enhancing sustainability program for your organization.
  • Get graduate level college credit (new this semester) or earn a certificate in Sustainability Leadership from DU.
  • Learn from world-class faculty and alumni and take advantage of one-on-one opportunities for mentorship and guidance from Scot McClagan and Hunter Lovins.

Learn more and meet alumni in downtown Denver on the 14th floor of DaVita’s beautiful new headquarters on 12 August 2013.


For the past year NCS has been working with The Cheesecake Factory to create an integrated sustainability plan that covers all aspects of its business from farm to fork and everything in between. We have been thrilled to help The Cheesecake Factory fully and genuinely committed to sustainability. Long a leader in the restaurant industry, now they are driving more sustainable practices deeply into their business.

Working with a company the size of The Cheesecake Factory is no easy feat: their operations span 177 restaurants, involving thousands of suppliers, and employees. But what a great opportunity to implement change.

The NCS team recently returned from a cross-country trip visiting and evaluating restaurants and a bakery for opportunities to improve energy efficiency, water use, waste disposal programs. Analysis is still ongoing, but we’ve already identified cost savings and greenhouse gas reduction opportunities. Applied across The Cheesecake Factory’s operations these will increase the appeal to customers and investors.

Lyons, ColoradoNCS was just awarded a great project right in our own backyard. The beautiful Town of Lyons has asked us to work with stakeholders throughout the community to help shape an effective action plan for the Town. Already serious about its sustainability programs, this is an opportunity to strengthen its economic progress, and demonstrate the advantages that sustainability can confer to a small community. Stay tuned for more updates as we kickoff the project.

Executive Director Bill Becker is reserved about claiming credit for PCAP because we don’t have the DNA to claim parentage on what emerges from the White House. But we can say that the Administration’s actions over the past several years are in line with our PCAP recommendations.

The latest, of course, was our call for the President to do a live televised speech to the nation on climate change, laying out the case for action. With many other groups, we’ve encouraged the Administration to regulate existing as well as new power plants, which Obama pledged to do in his recent speech at Georgetown. We argued that he deny the permit for the Keystone Pipeline. It’s still in play, but the President’s announcement that climate impacts will govern his criteria is aligned with what we’ve advised.

We’re particularly encouraged by the President’s push for an international deal to eliminate HFCs under the Montreal Protocol. China had been one of the nations opposing that approach — probably the key opponent, in fact — preferring to handle HFCs under an international climate treaty. Obama obviously agreed with us that an agreement with the president of China to reduce each nation’s HFC emissions was important.

Bill Becker most recently teamed up with the Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE)at Colorado State University to develop the White House Energy Policy Project. Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, who heads the CNEE, is collaborating with Bill to create policy recommendations for federal action on energy efficiency, natural gas production, and others. >> Read more on the PCAP web site (

As you might recall from previous e-alerts, Hunter Lovins was asked by his Majesty the King of Bhutan in July 2012, to join the International Expert Working Group (IEWG), convened to articulate and elaborate the goals, conceptual framework, structures and processes of a proposed New Development Paradigm (NDP). The IEWG is an independent body of researchers chosen for their expertise in the various aspects of science, policy, and practice in tackling the world’s most serious challenges.

This spring NCS worked with various of the IEWG members to create ASAP: the Alliance for Sustainability And Prosperity as an independent effort to support the King’s initiative. See Made up of many of the people who are also part of the IEWG, ASAP’s Public Forum invites your best thinking.

ASAP is comprised of experts who have been working on this for over three decades. But the state of the world today is testament that we cannot do it alone. We need your involvement in this work. What sort of future do you want to see for the world? How do you think we can achieve it? What is already working that should be replicated more broadly? What has to be fixed? We need to grapple with the larger question of what’s the purpose of the economy that we’re all a part of. Do we exist to serve it, or can we transform it, instead, to serve us? >> Read more and join the conversation at

Nikki Mayer is finishing up her last week with us before heading out to Chile for a study abroad! She is studying Environmental Engineering at CU Boulder and will be a junior next year.

Eliza Kovnat is studying for her Masters of Science in Environmental Science with a concentration in Sustainable Development and Climate Change at Antioch University, New England (where previous intern Allan Pearce earned his degree). She also studied anthropology at the University of Toronto. She will continue working with NCS this fall, helping Hunter prepare the chapter on Transforming the Global Economy for theASAP project.

Mateo Schimpf is studying Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Sustainable Development with an expected graduation in December. Mateo will be completing his time with NCS in early August and hopes to create a career in energy policy.

Megan Long is studying Environmental Studies with an emphasis in Sustainable Development at the University of Colorado at Boulder and has been our Business Development and Marketing Intern this summer. Megan will graduate in May 2014 and hopes to pursue a career in sustainability consulting.

Matt Finn just graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in Political Science and a minor in International Studies. He will be teaching English in Spain for a second year starting in October and aspires to receive a Masters degree in International Relations. When not completing research, Matt can be found on his road bike or at the climbing gym.

Kirsten Frysinger is studying Environmental Studies with an emphasis on Sustainable Development at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her strengths are in writing, research, and policy. Kirsten will be pursuing a career in sustainability research and environmental policy when she graduates this December.

Liza Schillo is working towards a Master of Business Administration & Master of Environmental Management at Duke University. She is concentrating on the subject of corporate sustainability, and shares a particular interest in energy and climate science. Prior to school, Liza spent several years in the fields of environment and policy in Washington, DC.

Karen Howe, 2012 NCS Summer Intern, directed this video at Western State Colorado University, where students are at the heart of the sustainability movement. Sustainability at Western stems from student passion and energy to make a difference in their community.

Celebrate SLIC
Denver, Colorado (12 August 2013)
New Development Paradigm Meetings for ASAP
Birmingham, UK (15 August 2013)
Bard College MBA 2nd Cohort Begins
Annondale-on-Hudson, NY (23 August 2013)
Bard Admissions Event

New York, NY (23 August 2013) 

Sustainability Leadership and Implementation Course (SLIC) Begins
Denver, CO (3 October 2013)
Bainbridge Graduate Institute Strategy Seminar Begins
Seattle, WA (4 October 2013)
Employee Engagement 2.0 Webinar
WWW (online) (5 September 2013)
Illinois Green Building Association Conference
Tinley Park, IL (15 October 2013)
Bainbridge Graduate Institute Management Seminar Begins
Seattle, WA (1 November 2013)
COP 19 UNFCCC Meetings
Warsaw, Poaand (11 November 2013)

For a full list of upcoming events and to download past presentations visit our calendar.

Summer in Colorado is always lovely, and this one I’ve gotten to be present for more of it than usual, turning down speaking engagements in China and Australia. As the science on climate change gets ever scarier, I weigh every invitation, balancing the impact of being there against the carbon footprint of getting it done.

But that hasn’t left me entirely idle. Being in the Boulder Valley enabled me to speak in early July at the inaugural international conference of the Savory Institute.

The Savory Institute is the organization of my long-time friends Allan Savory and Jody Butterfield to take their work on Holistic Management to scale globally. It is crucial work, of which NCS is deeply honored to be able to be a small part. It may be the approach that can enable humanity to sequester enough carbon from the air to head off the rapidly gathering climate crisis.

I joined John Fullerton of the Capital Institute and long time friend Woody Tasch of Slow Money in a conversation about the economics of sustainability and the necessity of transforming finance so that we invest in the productive assets that will be needed for sustainable agriculture, among other things, and discourage the speculative capital flows that are destabilizing our economy. (More information here.) I hope to be working more closely with John in the future, especially as I wrestle with the paper on transforming the global economy (see ASAP, above.)

Sometimes an e-mail reminds me that, against all odds, our work makes a difference. One of my students, Louisa Walmsley, now working with Roshan, the national phone company of Afghanistan, sent me this website, showing all of the renewable energy projects now in place. Credit for this belongs to many people, Afghans primarily, including my friend Ismail Khan, the energy minister I encouraged to go this route, who, I’m told, still asks after me. But it’s also clear that our work there left a benign footprint.

One trip that met my carbon footprint test this summer was to keynote the first international conference of the new network to integrate sustainability education into vocational educational training. Hosted by the Bundesinstitut fur Berufsbildung at the WorldSkills competition in Leipzeig, Germany, it brought together representatives of vocational training centers from around the globe. I argued for the business case for sustainability, along with the necessity of integrating it into the hands on training of young people who will build the future. It was truly gratifying to see global interest in sustainability education in this sector. Something tells me we’ll be doing more in this field soon.

Of course, no summer would be complete without mentoring at the Unreasonable Institute. The current crop of young entrepreneurs from India, Cambodia, Africa and Latin America and the US are truly inspiring. This year’s Unreasonable Climax was the best yet. Yes, penguins really can fly…:-) And as you’ll see from the video, they are expanding. Unreasonable at scale is launching Unreasonable spinoffs in Mexico and East Africa.

Natural Capitalism works with organizations like Savory Institute, Unreasonable, the vo-tech schools and many others because we know that we cannot do it alone. 

And we cannot do it without you. Please consider logging on to the ASAP site and joining the conversation. And please consider making a donation to help Natural Capitalism. Your support has one very direct impact: the more that you make it possible to do our work, the more I can stay in Colorado and write. This summer, particularly, I’d take it as a personal favor if you made a donation.

Thanks for being such a key part of our work to create a future that works for all.

    Warmest regards,


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